Shares of Arbutus Biopharma Corp. (ABUS) are up an impressive 93% year-to-date, way ahead of the 25% gain recorded by iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index during the same period.
Arbutus is focused on developing and commercializing a cure for patients suffering from chronic Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.
The Company’s most-advanced product candidate in the pipeline is ARB-1467, which is designed to reduce Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) expression in patients chronically infected with HBV. Reducing HBsAg is thought to be a key prerequisite to enable a patient’s immune system to raise an adequate immune response against the virus.
ARB-1467 is under a phase II trial, consisting of 4 Cohorts, in chronic HBV patients who are also receiving nucleot(s)ide analog therapy.
The first two cohorts include HBeAg- patients, while the third cohort consists of HBeAg+ patients. Cohorts 1 to 3 each enrolled eight subjects, six receiving three monthly doses of ARB-1467, and two receiving placebo. The Cohort 4 is evaluating bi-weekly multi-dosing of ARB-1467 in twelve HBeAg- patients.
Results from the ARB-1467 trial in Cohorts 1, 2 and 3 have demonstrated significant reductions in serum HBsAg levels and showed a step-wise, additive reduction in serum HBsAg with each subsequent dose, according to the Company.
The top line results from phase II Cohort 4 (bi-weekly multi-dosing) study of ARB-1467 are expected this month.
Another clinical drug candidate in the pipeline is AB-423, which is under phase I study in healthy volunteers. This compound is expected to progress into a multi-dosing study in HBV patients by the end of 2017.
Among the partnered programs of Arbutus, the one that merits mention is Alnylam’s Patisiran, which is under phase III study in hATTR amyloidosis patients with polyneuropathy.
Arbutus has granted a license to Alnylam to use Arbutus’ LNP technology to enable RNAi therapeutic products. Arbutus will receive milestone and royalty payments as and when the LNP-enabled products are developed and commercialized.
The top line results from the phase III study of Alnylam’s Patisiran are also expected this month.
Market capitalization: Roughly $260 million
Cash as of June 30, 2017: $115.6 million, which is expected to last until late 2018
Shares outstanding: 55.0 million basic, 60.6 million fully diluted.
ABUS, which has gained over 14% in the last 5 trading days, closed Thursday’s trading at $4.75, up 5.56%.
by RTT Staff Writer
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